Electrical Fires

Facts and Figures

  • There were 38,300 reported home electrical fires in 1998, resulting in 284 deaths, 1,184 injuries and $668.8 million in direct property damage.
  • The statistics below are based on annual averages from 1994-98:
    • Ground fault or shot circuit was the leading cause of electrical distribution fires.
    • Fixed wiring caused one-third of home electrical distribution fires.
    • Cords and plugs caused 17% of home electrical distribution fires and 28% of related deaths.

Source: NFPA’s U.S. Home Product Report, Appliances and Equipment Involved in Fires, January 2002.

 Safety Tips

  • Replace or repair loose or frayed cords on all electrical devices.
  • Avoid running extension cords across doorways or under carpets.
  • In homes with small children, electrical outlets should have plastic safety covers.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for plugging an appliance into a receptacle outlet.
  • Avoid overloading outlets. Consider plugging only one high-wattage appliance into each receptacle outlet at a time.
  • If outlets or switches feel warm, shut off the circuit and have them checked by an electrician.
  • When possible, avoid the use of “cube taps” and other devices that allow the connection of multiple appliances into a single receptacle.
  • Place lamps on level surfaces, away from things that can burn and use bulbs that match the lamp’s recommended wattage.